Marie's Musings

Musings from the mundane day to day life of a mom of 9 to more serious ponderings of the day.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Part 5 - The 2nd half of our NICU stay

Tuesday morning, I came up , fervently hoping we had a new doc to deal with.

I so wanted to be home with my family, introducing them to Gideon. Gideon was improving each day and doing better and better. His blood levals were going down appropraitely except for his bilirubin, the tests that were abnormal to start with were coming back fine. Ultrasounds were clear, xrays were clear and I began wondering what was keeping us here.

Thankfully , the new doc that day was much better at his bedside manner. He started by coming over and introducing himself and let me know he needed to review the chart. I cant fully explain the difference but he was just much more willing to talk and be straightforward i think than the other doc. It wasnt too long that morning before he came over and said the words, i had been waiting to hear from the beginning. I could nurse him today! His words exactly" I dont see any reason not to" were cause for rejoicing. He basically let me know that Gideon needed to eat for 24 hr by breast or bottle and then he could go home.

At last, I had a tangible goal to reach for. Up to this point, the other doc wouldnt even address the timeline for going home. She basically said that a million things could go wrong and wouldnt give me even a loose timeline.

So anxious to get started, I figured Id skip my routine and do breakfast a little late. Honestly, Im thinking at this point(a bit cocky i might add) that he'd take right to it. It was the doctors preventing it and once he got the chance to nurse, we would be raring to go. I thought oh i know all the tricks, this will be easy. Boy was I wrong. I struggled with getting him to eat all day long. Each session I would try for 30 min, despartely watching the clock, hoping to get to that magical 10 min mark. I would get him to latch on and hed nurse maybe 2 min and fall asleep. Or he refused to latch at all. He cried, I cried and I prayed a lot. Pressure is on, feeling like I had to get him to eat, not only for his health but so we could go home. And how I wanted to be home.

Andrew came in to visit that day. Moms in the church, helped out watching the little ones so he could come in. He broke me out of the hospital for a bit, took me out to eat at perkins(rather than the hospital cafeteria) and a trip to target as well. It was nice to escape out into the fresh air, cold I might add but nice regardless. And to spend some time together catching up. We mainly had been communicating rather short little conversations on the phone. He left for home shortly after our trip out, as he needed to get back to the young ones.

I went back and tried again with Gideon. People, nurses, friends would encourage me and tell me it just takes time, dont worry, he'll get it. But when you are in the middle of NICU, you want it now. Gideon did eventually start doing somewhat better the next day. But it would be many weeks before he would latch on regularly with ease. Since he was jaundiced, that played into it as well. The higher the levals of bilirubin, the sleepier they get. And its a bit of a catch 22, since the way the body processes out bilirubin is thru the bowels, so if they are too sleepy to eat, their system slows down as well.

The next morning, the same doc I liked, seemed determined to help us get home. He offhandly mentioned we might even go home that evening on wednesday night. I had already prepared myself for being there til at least thursday. So I was sooo excited. I quickly tried to call andrew but he had already left to come visit. I thought for sure, he'd bring the car since it was better on gas mileage, which didnt have the baby carseat in it. It was buckled in the big van. Im on cloud 9 at this point, thinking i might get to take my baby home.

The nurse had unhooked his monitors temporarily for the next feeding. So i got to nurse him without wires hanging off him all over! She even said for the next feeding, we could take him into the lounge to nurse him. Shortly after this, we got word that the chromsomal tests they did came back as a normal baby boy, Praising God ! Somehow though the order for the bilirubin didnt get noted, so that had to be done around lunchtime. It had gone up from 10 to 14 at this point but the doc wasnt concerned enough to even send us home with a bilibed.

Andrew had shown up in the meantime with the van! I was so praising God he brought that vechile since it had the carseat. He had taken it since he had to drop off the little kids, and it had their carseats already buckled in. I let him know of the possibility of getting to go home and he then stuck around longer to see if we could. Around midafternoon, the doc proclaimed we could take Gideon home! I dont think I stopped smiling all afternoon!

We still had paperwork to fill out, took some time to take his official birth photo(we used our digital), gathered up all our stuff and headed on down. I think we were on the road 530 or so. As we are driving home, Im sitting in awe of all God has done and how far we have come. God is sooo good ... all the time! I thought of all God did, from answered prayers like clear chest xray, to prayers unsaid like our car repair being paid for anounymously. From coveting prayers of many many friends, and friends of friends. To a sweet voicemail encouraging me to keep holding on.

We arrived home around 630 pm. Sweet friends of mine, had left a bouquet of flowers and a balloon. I was tired and I think the kids were too. It wasnt long and Ezekiel had a meltdown. Yup Im back home!

Part 6: the homecoming, to follow lol!


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Part 4 - NICU

It was hard not to be intimidated by your surroundings there. There was at least 8-10 babies besides mine in the room we were in, plus they had a whole nother room. Many were hooked up to more machines and ventilators than Gideon was. And almost all the other babies were much smaller. The nurses exuded a sense of just being in charge.

I remember tenatively asking, can I hold him, which i did for a while that first night. The doc in charge that night, was really good bout explaining things and I was very grateful for that. In a lot of ways I was still in shock, i had only delivered a baby 5 hrs before and here I was dressed in normal clothes praying madly over my baby in the NICU. Eventually we made our way down to our room. They had us staying in an old unused wing of the hospital. It was sorta creepy at times, it just had the feeling of being abandoned. But im every thankful that God provided us a free place to stay. We then went up to the family lounge, andrew sent off an email or too and I pumped. We collasped into bed round midnight i think.

The next morning, we got there around 7-730. We met the next doctor whom I dont think I ever liked. She just didnt have a decent bedside manner and was less than compassionate at times. She , at one point, actually told me to" go home that there was nothing i could do for him there" yeah ... I didnt take that too well. Me, being a nonconfronter generally, didnt say much to her then. I cried but inside I strengthed my resolve to stay. My baby is less than a day old, Im going nowhere. I also vehemently disagreed with her assessment that I couldnt do anything because i feel that touch, and hearing our voices and holding him were just as important to his recovery as any medical thing. She let us know early on that day, that I wasnt going to get to nurse him that day. He had batteries of tests -- chest xrays, ultrasounds, blood draws. His poor heel was so bruised from blood pricks.

Andrew was there with me til sunday night. We attended the brief easter service in the hospital, we made phone calls, I pumped around the clock every 3 hrs(cept at night), and spent time with Gideon thruout the day. Sunday night andrew went home to be with the bigger kids and start rounding up the younger crew as well. That was hard in some ways, but not in others. He didnt have this intense desire to be with Gideon as i did. He felt that he was okay under the doc/nurses care but I just knew I had to be there. Heck i figure I had the better end of the deal, he had 8 kids to watch over, I had 1 lol.

Monday, i started developing a routine. I would pump, then hold Gideon for at least an hour, then make a few phone calls and then go eat and start the routine all over again. The cell phone couldnt be on in NICU, so i would only have it on when i went to eat meals. So id check voicemail, pick one or two calls to make and then make my way down to eat. Monday was fairly crazy for andrew, the kids were all off school still and readjusting to being back home. Add to the fact that mom isnt there nor is there brother, and it wasnt a pretty sight. So he didnt come in to visit on monday.

God allowed my recovery to be really easy. I think he knew Id need to concentrate on Gideon, so I really didnt have much pain at all and was able to just concentrate on getting my little guy out of there. I still couldnt nurse him on monday, much to my dismay. I found that is really all I wanted to do and it was incredibly frustrating to not do what all my instincts were crying out to do. I remember the doctor, who i didnt like, saying that we needed to do another chest xray. She didnt like the way his lungs were retracting. So I prayed very specifically for a clear one and God came thru with flying colors, it came back perfectly clear.

After a few interactions with the doc I didnt like, I started praying for a new doc to be there the next day.

Part 5 to come!